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A Christmas Carol

A Christmas Carol(1938)

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According to Hollywood Reporter news items, John Seitz temporarily replaced cameraman Sidney Wagner during production when Wagner was ill with a bad case of flu, and Marvin Stuart replaced assistant director Dolph Zimmer when Zimmer had a cold. According to various news items and material from the picture's press pack, Lionel Barrymore was originally cast as Scrooge, a role which he had performed on radio each Christmas morning for several years, but ill-health prevented him from being in the production. It was he who suggested Reginald Owen for the part. Barrymore did not perform the radio version of A Christmas Carol in 1938 so that it would not interfere with the success of the picture, and he appeared in a special trailer for it called "A Fireside Chat with Lionel Barrymore" which was produced by Frank Whitbeck and directed by Edward L. Marin. An Hollywood Reporter news item and the Variety review note that M-G-M released 375 prints of the film, a record number, so that as many people as possible could see it during the Christmas season. An M-G-M production bulletin noted that it took Owen almost two hours each day in makeup to prepare for his role. Reviews noted that it was English actor Barry Mackay's first American role. New York Times mentioned that the Radio City Music Hall showing of the film was preceded by a special holiday revue featuring the Vienna Boys Choir and the Walt Disney cartoon, "Mother Goose Goes Hollywood."
       There have been many adaptations of Dickens' story, beginning with a British short produced in 1901. There was an Edison short in 1911 and a feature length British version in 1914. A British version called Scrooge starring Sir Seymour Hicks was released in 1935. Perhaps the most famous version was the 1951 British film with Alistair Sim. Ronald Neame directed another British version called Scrooge, a musical starring Albert Finney, in 1970. A modernized variation of the story was the 1988 Paramount comedy called Scrooged starring Bill Murray.
       Several animated versions of the story have made, including the Walt Disney short cartoon adaptation, ^Mickey's Christmas Carol , released in 1983 and featuring the voices of Alan Young and Clarence Nash. In 2001, an animated version with live action was released under the title A Christmas Carol. The British-Germany co-production was directed by Jimmy T. Murakami and featured the voices of Simon Callow and Kate Winslet.
       In addition to films, there have been a number of radio and television adaptations of the Dickens story, among them a 1939 Mercury Theatre radio broadcast narrated by Orson Welles, a one hour ABC television production in 1954 with Fredric March and a 1988 Hallmark Hall of Fame production with George C. Scott.